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Sustainable group to present forum

By Staff | Feb 25, 2011

(Submitted graphic)

Sustainable Shepherdstown will host “Transition Talks” forum today in an effort to unite community members with local businesses and organizations concerned with the issue of sustainability.

According to Ruth Raubertas, member of Sustainable Shepherdstown, the purpose of the forum is to attract ideas and solutions for what she believes is a major eco-crisis facing mankind.

Raubertas said a “transition town” is a response to the types of “environmental problems and economic uncertainty” she feels people face in the near future.

Raubertas said the Sustainable Shepherdstown group is comprised of a steering committee which includes herself, Ellen Smith and Paul Woods. The group has been operating for about a year now, working at a “grass-roots” level. With “Transition Talks,” Sustainable Shepherdstown is working to make the town a self-sustaining “transition town” that, according to Raubertas, would be capable of providing the basic food and energy needs of its residents, even in times of hardship, by a reduced dependence on the fossil fuel used to import basic necessities like food.

She calls this developing a “descent plan”- planning for the idea that energy like fossil fuels will way more expensive in the future.

The “Transition Talks” event will feature six speakers presenting information on a variety of topics related to sustainability, including organic gardening advocates, proponents of the shopping locally and those involved in the development of alternative energy use.

Speakers include, Karen Valentine, Laurel Parker, Peter Corum, Jeff Feldman, Randy Swartz and Colin Williams.

Williams is the director of operations at Mountain View Solar and Wind, a company that works to install solar photovoltaic systems, solar hot water systems and wind power on homes and businesses around the four-state region.

Williams will present on the use of renewable energy, like solar power.

He said he’ll explain the fundamentals of how solar energy works and specifically about the “economics of it.”

Williams, who was invited to become involved with Shepherdstown’s transition movement after installing solar panels on Raubertas’ home last fall, described the lecture as an opportunity to answer the question, “How do we plan for a new reality?”

Raubertas said this event will be the first in what she hopes will be a series of forums. She said all are invited to attended.

“I especially hope a lot of Shepherdstown students will come out,” she said.

The discussion will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Byrd Center auditorium on Shepherd University’s campus and is free to the public.

Presentations will be followed by refreshments, interest tables and further discussion among individuals interested in learning more about any particular issue.

For more information, visit the group’s website at www.sustainableshepherdstown.org or contact Ellen Smith at 304-876-01505 or Raubertas at 304-876-6967.